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How is emotional distress demonstrated in malpractice cases?

Emotional distress is a difficult thing to evaluate in any personal injury claim, including medical malpractice cases.

For one thing, everyone has different emotional reactions to things. What really distresses one person won't bother another person at all. Another reason emotional distress can be so difficult to factor into a medical malpractice claim is that it's often a "hidden" injury.

The trick to making it a viable part of any claim for damages is to make the emotional distress visible for others to see by showing them how it has manifested and affected your life.

For example, these are the sorts of things that might help make your emotional distress over what you've been through visible to others:

  • You've sought therapy. If you were already in therapy, that may not really make much difference, but going into therapy to deal with your feelings or fears following the malpractice incident could stand out with the jury.
  • You've been visibly panicked at medical appointments since the incident. Doctors take notes about each patient's demeanor during a visit. If you suffered medical malpractice, you may have some visible anxiety showing when you have to seek future treatment -- especially from a new doctor.
  • You've become withdrawn. A lot of people recognize that withdrawing into "a shell" or finding more and more ways to avoid being around people is a classic symptom of emotional distress. Medical malpractice can damage your basic faith in the world and ability to trust others.
  • Your personality changes as a result of anxiety. If you used to be happy and friendly but you've become angry, bitter, snippy and stressed out to the point that family and friends have noticed, that's often a sign of true emotional distress.
  • You've sought medication for depression, anxiety or trouble sleeping since the incident. While a lot of people don't like to rely on medication to resolve their problems, sometimes that's the only thing that will help when emotional distress becomes overwhelming. If you never needed these types of medications prior to the malpractice incident, that's a good indicator that the two issues are related.

If your emotional distress happens to be higher than what might be considered "normal" distress after an incident of malpractice, that isn't your fault. It's just the way you are wired, and you deserve additional compensation for the additional agony you feel.

Source: www.powerofpositivity.com, "4 Signs Someone Is Suffering From Emotional Distress," accessed Dec. 01, 2017

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